The Vancouver-based company announced the release of the new material on April 18, which it said was made by “fermenting plant sugars into the chemical building blocks used to make nylon.”
The products are part of its partnership with sustainable materials company Genomatica, Inc., in which Lululemon has a stake since 2021.
The companies replaced petroleum in the fabric with plants, updating the decades-old method of producing nylon, Lululemon said. More than 8.7 million tons of nylon, which is made from synthetic materials, are produced each year, according to the Financial Times.
“We’ve been working on plant-based nylon with our partner Geno for nearly two years,” Lululemon senior vice president Esther Speck said in a press release.
The brand described the shirts with the new material as “high-quality” and has the same feel as the lightweight, quick-drying fabric of Lululemon’s fabrics.
The launch of its first plant-based nylon products is part of the company’s “journey to net zero,” Speck said. The company first launched its environmental impact agenda in the fall of 2020, including a goal to make 100% of its products with sustainable materials by 2030.
Christophe Schilling, CEO and founder of Geno, said the partnership with Lululemon will disrupt the $22 billion nylon market and accelerate the transition to sustainable materials.
“This is just the beginning,” Schilling said.
Besides Lululemon, the startup has partnered with other companies to produce the material over the past year, including textile company Aquafil and fabric maker Covestro.
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